Our US Senator, Mary Landrieu, once said, “Our cities should be like gardens, a fertile place to raise healthy families.” How true an analogy. Folks over the years ask what Randalle and I are growing in our garden. The best and true answer has always been: kids!
The garden space that we raise fresh fruits and vegetables is indeed like a small city; and if you think about it that way, it makes sense that the infrastructure must be well planned and established. For plants to grow and produce, the basics of food, air, and water are the infrastructure they need. Probably the most important and under-managed is the water we use. Overwatering is typically the common curse for sick vegetables. Plants will drink what they need. Another factor is type of water. Obviously, God has the best recipe…it’s called rain!
There is no question that our decision to “harvest” rainwater was an easy commitment. We simply installed the “infrastructure” of an old recycled piece of gutter onto our barn roof and setup a 350 gallon tank to receive and then disperse what we have come to call ‘liquid silk’ into our garden city. The instant difference in our plants compared to the old hose watering is pretty amazing. We also keep a simple, covered garbage can filled for other hand-watering jobs and cleaning mud and grass off our arms on the hot summer days. Try it and you will understand why we named it “liquid silk”. There are several easy ways to collect rainwater. They key is to use it quickly if it’s not covered, or keep it covered, so you don’t create a mosquito farm.
Keeping garden soils loaded with compost and flush with rainwater will almost guarantee healthy vegetables and fruit…and your city full of healthy children!